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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M pitcher Chris Cortez (10) delivers a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against Tarleton State on Tuesday, April 30, 2024. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
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Chancellor John Sharp during a Board of Regents meeting discussing the appointmet of interim dean Mark Welsh and discussion of a McElroy settlement on Sunday, July 30, 2023 in the Memorial Student Center.
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Year in review

Photo by Photo by Jenny Hollowell

After this May, Timothy Ateek will have completed his first full year as Breakaway Director.

With the last Breakaway of the academic year set for May 2, Timothy Ateek will be closing the book on his first complete year as Breakaway director.
Breakaway is an on-campus, non-denominational Christian Bible study which began in 1989 and draws thousands of students to Reed Arena every Tuesday night. Last year saw the departure of the organization’s second director, Ben Stuart, who served for 11 years before he welcomed his successor Ateek, Class of 2003, at the end of spring 2016.
Ateek said the opportunity to come back home to Aggieland to lead a Bible study that he attended as a student has been a joyous experience.
“Honestly it has been packed full of joy,” Ateek said. “It’s been a dream opportunity for me to come home to A&M, which was where I went, and I don’t think many people have the opportunity to come back and lead an organization that was so meaningful to them when they were in college. So it’s been a dream opportunity and it’s really been a supernaturally smooth transition.”
Throughout the year Breakaway has covered many topics, and Ateek said his favorites include subject matter that heavily impacts students. Additionally, Ateek said the Shalom Project — an annual fundraiser, this year focused on raising money to assist Syrian refugees — was one of the year’s biggest successes.
“My favorite series has been the two week series on pornography that I just did a few weeks ago,” Ateek said. “I just felt like we were meeting a need, and I really enjoyed getting to share my story. The Shalom Project this spring was just a huge joy, to see college students rally together and crush our goal of $119,000 — we raised $157,000, which was just amazing. And then … back in the fall I did a talk on just dealing with guilt, shame, and regret from past failures. And we had a night where students just got to write down something from their past … And they threw it in a basket just as a first step toward dealing with it.”
Ateek said along with the joy, Breakaway director comes with its responsibilities.
“My greatest responsibilities are to prepare a weekly message, which, people don’t realize it, but that probably takes anywhere between 15 and 25 hours a week … So that’s my greatest responsibility — to teach the word of God,”Ateek said. “And then it’s to lead our staff, and then to build relationships with donors, with different churches in town, and with students.”
Hannah Winkle, allied health sophomore and regular Breakaway attendee, said having an Aggie as Breakaway director brings a new level of understanding to the service.
“Getting to do that on A&M’s campus — to worship with other students — I think is really cool and unique,” Winkle said. “And it’s also really fun that we have a director that is from A&M, who understands Aggie jokes and understands the culture here. It’s kind of a nice way to incorporate interests at A&M and then also go and have a little bit more time with God and learning during the week.”
Ateek’s sermons always seem to give a much-needed raw message that touches on difficult subjects, according to economics junior Omar Nunez.
“It’s always stuff that’s really good for college students that you can relate to,” Nunez said. “So I would say it’s pretty essential … Especially the things they touch are the things they don’t usually touch at church. So it’s pretty cool that they’re just willing to expose all that stuff that everyone really wants to know but no one touches it for some reason. You can tell that [Timothy Ateek], he is very sincere about what he has to say, all these things that he talks about are directly related to his experience…and he’s not ashamed to talk about it.”
The last worship service of the semester will be held Tuesday at 9 p.m. in Reed Arena.

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